I woke early again this morning, I was awake before my alarm, I laid there waiting for the invertible. A few moments later the alarm started screaming like a demented child “GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP GET UP”. It was 0600, I was groggy tired and bleary eyed, I managed to drag myself from my slumber and into the shower, the water was cold but refreshing I was instantly awake. After yesterdays trip I was clinging desperately to the idea of a finding a little bit of tranquility where I could make sense of my thoughts.

There would be no stopping me today, there would be no distractions, I would head straight to Kep, locate a boat and onto my final destination of Rabbit island.

The bike was loaded, my route set, and above all I had and uncompromising determination re-gain my clarity. I climbed onto the bike, started the engine and rode off with a clear goal, nothing could sway me from my course.

Approximately 300 meters down the road I deciding it was wise to have breakfast first (when you’ve gotta eat you’ve gotta eat). I found a place about, well 300 meters away from the guest house. I say I found a place, what I really mean is I just stopped the bike and sat at the first place that had food, it was actually a nice little place by the water front serving muesli and yogurt. (Once I was fed and watered, I would then have determination mentioned earlier).


I was now ready to continue my journey to the island retreat, nothing and I mean nothing could stop me. 20 minutes later and now on my 3rd stop to take photos, I was approached by three local boys who where clearly interested in what this long haired, bedraggled foreigner was up too. They where extremely friendly and their english was impeccable. They where interested in my pictures and asked me to take their photo. I kindly obliged and gave them my email address so that they could contact me for a copy.


Finally after only 2 more stops, I made it to the town of Kep, I managed to organise a boat, I even managed to arrange secure parking of my bike in the form of paying a police officer to look after it for only 2000 riel (about 30 pence). It was still early in the morning, maybe about 0830, I had finally arrived at Rabbit Island. There where a few huts that could be rented for about $5 a night, however these weren’t for me. It not that I wanted to be cheap, I simply wanted to be that little bit closer to nature. I was only on the island for one night, I wasn’t there to explore, I just needed to get my thoughts together. I found a nice quiet area between two coconut trees and set-up my hennessy hammock facing the sea. I then decided to wander around the the island so that I could be alone with my thoughts.

The weather was nice throughout the majority of the day allowing me to relax and mediate. I didn’t really want to be around other people at that point in time, I just needed to get my thoughts in order, or maybe it was just a case of not having any thoughts for a while. Later in the evening the wind started to pick up, I decided to go for dinner at one of the local restaurants provided by the islanders.


I made friends with some of the local dogs, animals are far easier to understand than humans, its a more simple relationship and one I can understand.


The weather started to deteriorate throughout the rest of the evening. Every one on the island took shelter in the restaurant buildings. I guess my head still wasn’t in any place to sociable so I decided to just connect with nature.


After feeling the forces of nature for a while I decided to wanter around to a sheltered cove just around the island. While writing this i’m reminded of the writings of the Tao Teh Ching, if something as powerful as a storm cant last forever then maybe there was still hope for me in this life.


I watched the boat owners in the sheltered bay for a while, before deciding to go back to my hammock to ride out the rest of the storm. I was laid in my hammock enjoying being alone and experiencing the wonders of nature, when a group of french travellers approached my hammock. They kindly invited me over to the restaurant for a beer and a smoke. Always in conflict with myself, part of me wanted to be alone, and the other part wanted to be with other. I eventually decided to join them, I had been in my head for long enough. We chatted and laughed into the night for a good 4 hours or so, eventually I wished them all good night and return back to my hammock, the storm had really picked up by this point, I knew the hammock could handle it, my only issue really was the probability of coconuts falling form the trees onto me. I decided it was not worth thinking about, climbed into my sleeping bag and fell asleep.

I didn’t find what I was looking for on Rabbit Island, but then again i’m not sure I really expected to. The journey there was a far greater learning experience than the ultimate destination, maybe that’s the whole point, who knows? I guess all I can really do is set a goal a purpose, something to merely aim at, and always try and remember that achieving it is not really the point, its the journey that matters.


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04/08/2010 @21:45 (in Okay guest house)

(transcribed from my paper journal)
Well things where pretty bad for me today, Im currently writing in my journal, with the intent of placing these thoughts directly into my blog. Today I had such a low, I felt depressed, hopeless and irritable, I felt so bad that I couldn’t interact completely with the children. They where amazing though, their smiles and laughs really helped me get through the day. I let Vichetr know how I was feeling, he was very understanding, (I really didn’t want to let anyone down). He told me he had sent the children home to plant rice with their parents, and I could take time off until Monday. I didn’t realised i had not been sleeping very well, maybe a few hours each night, what I needed was to just get away and reconnect with my self again.

I immediately loaded up the bike and set off on the approximate 50km journey to Phnom Penh. It was a pretty uneventful ride apart from going off road a few times to get past slow moving trucks. PP on the other hand was chaos! The rules of the road in PP initially can be intimidating. I found that it’s sometimes better not to acknowledge the person you are about to cut up (cut in front of, steal their space etc, you get the idea). If you acknowledge them you instantly put yourself at a disadvantage. With your weakness exposed your feeble attempt at dominating any space is lost forever, a torrent of vehicle’s will surge into it in a single exquisite fluid movement, leaving you wondering where you went wrong, and how on earth they got 4 people, 2 gas cylinders and a sewing machine onto one scooter.


Once in PP I checked into a guest house, I stayed at:-

Okay Guest House
Long Nget,
Phnom Penh,
Cambodia
(0)12 300 804

GPS:
N11°33.588
E104°56.049

The guest house is very friendly and has great reviews from lots of travellers. My room cost me $7 with a fan and a TV. I requested a room on the top floor so I would have views over the city, and maybe a wee smoke before bed.

Once I had somewhere to sleep my next goal was to locate food. I didn’t really want to head out into PP, I was tired and it was getting close to 20:00 (I know not late, but remember I had not been sleeping that well) plus I wanted to get up early to pick-up supplies, and decide where on earth I was actually going to go. I made the easy decision to eat in the Okay restaurant. The food was good with a decent choice of options, both local food and western.

While in the restaurant I got chatting to a young guy from Switzerland. He lived in Cambodia and worked on a boat that took tourists to Vietnam. As we chatted it was clear that he was broken hearted, we chatted for just over an hour. During the conversation he mentioned a place called Rabbit island near to the town of Kep. He informed me that if it was seclusion and solitary that I was looking for, then I would find it on place called Rabbit island. As I expressed a keen interest he gave me the directions, he also said that if I took national road 3 then I would pass through the town of Kampot (a coastal town where his ex-girlfriends sister had a guest house and bar). As i was saying good night he kindly asked that if I did go through Kampot, then if I could pass on a message for him. I figured this was as good a reason as any to go there and asked him for the message. With that I retired to my room.


I showered, phoned my friends Ali and Dave in the UK, (just to let them know i was still alive), turned on the TV and laid on my bed to write my journal (which brings us to pretty much where we are now).

(Oh quick note, if your in cambodia then get to know a local who can get you a sim card for your mobile phone. It is so much cheaper to call overseas using a local card. I got a $5 card at the start of the month and still have $2.5 on it. I’ve made a few overseas calls and loads of local ones).

While writing I thought it would be a good idea to listen to a Khmer channel on the TV, just hearing the sounds seems to help me learn. Too my surprise Im finding it hard to locate a channel in Khmer. There are about 20 or so channels in all, and I’ve found about three in Khmer. There’s lots of english and Mandarin but thats about it. The three channels that are in Khmer are saturated with the mindless brain washing adverts for products that just aren’t needed. If you buy this you will be a better person, this will make your life better, look at these celebrates they are better than you, you can try and be like them if you buy this though. I find it atrocious that a country which has been physically destroyed is now in my opinion being socially destroyed as well. How many times has history shown countries and culture destroyed first through war and now through globalisation. Apologies rant is over….


Its probably time for me to sleep,

peace & love dx